Arrhythmias — Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment of Arrhythmias

Arrhythmia is a disorder of the heart pulse or heart rhythm such as beating too fast (tachycardia) or beating too slow (bradycardia) or irregular heartbeat. Premature or extra beats are the most common type of arrhythmia. This, usually, feels like a fluttering in the chest or a feeling of a skipped heartbeat. The Heart has an electrical system that instructs it when to beat and pump blood to the body. If there is a trouble with this system the person may experience heart rhythm disorders. The disease may present serious symptoms like loss of breath, exhaustion, and feeling of skipping beats and so on. It is important to recognise the symptoms in time and approach treatment.

Arrhythmias are caused due to problems with the heart’s electrical conduction system, such as abnormal or extra signals might occur or the electrical signals can be blocked or slowed down or can even travel in new or different pathways through the heart. Such problems need to be diagnosed in time. Some heart rhythm disorder causes are:

  • Heart failure & heart attack
  • Congenital heart defects
  • High blood pressure
  • Infections that damage the heart muscle or the sac around the heart
  • Diabetes
  • Acute sleep disorders
  • An overactive or underactive thyroid gland

Arrhythmias may also develop due to the use of alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes or stimulants such as amphetamines, beta-blockers etc. It is also possible for medication prescribed to treat one type of Arrhythmia to cause another type of Arrhythmia. Such effects are not asymptomatic and hence, will always present some or the other prominent symptoms related to arrhythmias.

The most common type of heart Arrhythmia is Atrial fibrillation which arises when the normal beating in the upper chambers of the heart is irregular, and blood doesn’t flow properly the way it should from the atria (upper chambers) to the lower chambers of the heart.

Fast heart patterns such as supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), inappropriate sinus tachycardia, atrial flutter, atrial fibrillation (AF), ventricular tachycardia (VT) and ventricular fibrillation (VF) are called tachycardias. Whereas, slow heart patterns such as AV heart block, bundle branch block and tachybrady syndrome are called bradycardias.

Symptoms of heart rhythm disorder may range from barely perceptible to cardiovascular collapse and even, death. Random moments of arrhythmias are usually harmless but, when arrhythmias last for a long time serious symptoms might be developed such as:

  • fatigue
  • dizziness
  • lightheadedness
  • fainting
  • rapid heartbeat or pounding
  • anxiety
  • shortness of breath
  • sweating
  • chest pain
  • collapse and cardiac arrest (in extreme cases)

Heart rhythm disorders may be due:

  • Alcohol consumption
  • Smoking
  • Drug use
  • Stress
  • Age

Arrhythmia diagnosis and treatment is very necessary and needs to be attended with high priority. Some of the common treatments are:

  • Electrical “shock” therapy (defibrillation or cardioversion)
  • Implanting a short-term heart pacemaker
  • Medications are given through a vein (intravenous) or by mouth
  • Medications called anti-arrhythmic drugs may be used to prevent an arrhythmia from happening again
  • Cardiac ablation is used to destroy areas in your heart that causes heart rhythm problems
  • An implantable cardiac defibrillator is placed for patients who are at high risk of sudden cardiac death
  • A pacemaker might be placed to send a signal to the heart to make the heart beat at the correct pace.

Narayana Health is one of the best hospitals in India for diagnosis and treatment of heart rhythm disorders (Arrhythmias) with some of the most skilled doctors in the country. Narayana health specialises in Cardiology, with 23 hospitals, 7 heart centres and a network of primary health centres across India and also 1 hospital in the Cayman Islands. Narayana health provides high-quality healthcare services for Arrhythmia treatment in India with a team of the best, dedicated and experienced physicians. This superspeciality hospital in India provides advanced care in over 30 specialities including cardiology and cardiac surgery, cancer care, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopaedics, nephrology and urology and gastroenterology.